Skip to main content

Not Recommended

This is not how I would recommend doing this. While I stand by my long-term goals of maintaining and improving my playing and my career while also being the best mother I can be, I would say that now, this month, with Zoe at 6 months old growing more fascinating and magical every day, but still not sleeping through the night, is a crummy time to be preparing a recital and a whole bunch of difficult orchestra concerts.

I'm down a lot of IQ points with the lack of sleep. She's a good baby and does sleep easily and well between feedings - but doesn't want to not feed at night. Wants, in fact, to feed every three hours or less. Which for a night or two is not bad, but cumulatively over the past 6 months is killing me. I'm in a kind of permanent fog, and anything I don't write down gets forgotten instantly, and in the orchestra I sit in amazed wonderment listening to my colleagues effortlessly grasping meter changes that I am straining to understand.

I am accustomed to how much work it takes to prepare a new (to me) piece of music, but after putting in that much work I arrived at rehearsal Sunday and realized how much more work the new dumb me needs. I had worked out all of the notes at the tempos printed, but I had not worked out how to understand them in the context of the conducted meters or how to get from one section to another in my counting, or how to deliver them in case they turned out to be solos. Nor had I hunted down a recording so that I knew what to listen for and what was likely to be exposed and dangerous. These are basic and obvious approaches to a new work which last year's me could have gotten way with skipping (or would have found time to do) but this year's me cannot. Everything just takes more time.

So I've been working remedially on our MLK Day concert, which was difficult. I'm learning Turandot which begins rehearsals on Saturday. I had to report for jury duty this morning, and was mercifully dismissed after four hours. And I am also cramming with my awesome pianist, Paul, for a recital on Monday at 12:15 at the Chicago Cultural Center. I'm excited about the repertoire, and solo playing is my very very favorite thing to do, and the Cultural Center is a great space to play in and I am so looking forward to it. And at the same time I can only laugh at how absurdly much is on my plate at the very time that I least want to do anything at all.

Zoe can crawl now, and she can sit up, and she loves her mommy and daddy - observably - and she babbles and sings and smiles and laughs and flirts and plays and I could spend all of her waking hours watching her and playing with her and never get bored. That's probably hyperbole, but it certainly is hard to tear myself away. And, that said, I'm on my way up to the practice room to take advantage of the next couple of hours, and I do feel that I'm doing what's important. In my limited, impossibly over-scheduled way, I'm living my life the way I want to. But don't try this at home.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …